Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Turning Towards

Konnichiwa! It's been a while. I must thank those of you who have contacted me wondering when the next post would be's nice to be missed. I really don't have much of an excuse except to say that I just didn't feel like writing for the last month. And I love writing. For some reason, for the last few weeks, it was the last thing I wanted to do.

I miss home...not just the home in the states and its insane conveniences (underwear in my size, a vast array of non-fugly shoes, decent pizza) but also the home in my heart. I miss my family and friends in the U.S. But most of all, I miss my husband immensely.

Many of you know that he has been deployed to the Middle East for many months and has quite a few to go. In typical nancyb fashion, I was super organized the first few months of single parenthood. I planned out meals in advance, laundered clothes regularly, and filled the wipe-off activity board on the back of the front door with oodles of Best Laid Plans.

Five months teenager is reminding me to go to the grocery store in the same fashion I nag her to do her homework. I can barely open the door to my laundry room, it's so overstuffed with piles of dirty laundry. The blank activity board constantly reminds me that Entropy, the natural turning of order towards disorder, is not just a scientific theory.

Even though this may be a "natural" process, it still bothers me. This "turning towards" a new state of being can be adventuresome when it means shrugging off the expectations of a former way of life and discovering the pleasures of a new culture, a new way of living. I like getting lost from order because I am generally at ease with chaos. Afterall, this is one of the main reasons I love living in Japan.

Ah, but turning towards something invariably means you are turning away from something else. When chaos means a turning away from an ordered heart...that is a different story. My husband's love is like a well organized shelf in my heart. I know where his unending patience goes, his goofy humour, his amazing intellect, his undying commitment to me and the girls. Every day, I reach in there for more provisions and they are always in the same place--I can find them without even looking.

Some people may get caught up with creating immaculately stocked pantries or closets with rows and rows of designer handbags and shoes all displayed in picture perfect symmetry. Whatever. I know what true luxury is.

Recently, I have found that distance does nothing to diminish or rearrange the space this type of extravagance creates in the human heart. But distance does seem to change how to access it...I get so caught up in keeping up with the girls and dinner and work and volunteer projects, that I sometimes forget to go there. Without hugs and face to face contact, I am not as easily reminded to enter that space and take what I need. I start to rely on my own stores of strength, in my own private rooms. That feels empowering--for a little while.

Then suddenly, life just seems chaotic and out of control. Nothing makes much sense.

So now I am faced with making sense of it...turning away from the chaos and towards the inherent order within it. Military life can be hard but the personal hardships it creates force me to seek what is rock solid in my real life. The laundry might take over, the dinner might not be home cooked, but at least I know that I can depend on my husband no matter what. He is always there even when he is not. I cherish that dependence and I literally ache for its return...

And, hopefully, when it does return, it will want to throw a load in and whip up a gourmet meal.


Anonymous said...

Geesh you really hate laundry don’t you? ...
Nan, I cannot even begin to express how much I love you. That was one of the most amazing things to read. I felt humble, immensely proud and you made my heart literally ache and glow all at the same time. You are without a doubt one of the strongest people I know, the inner strength you draw on to write this kind of self realized wisdom is amazing and inspiring.
What I did to deserve to you I haven’t the slightest idea, but whatever it was I am truly grateful. I love you with all my heart. I will be home just as soon as I can…

Mrs. M said...

This makes sense to me. xoxo.

(And, I'd be more than happy to send underpants.)

cricketspaw said...

Your writing is so beautiful and so heartbreaking. See, how much he loves you back! Give yourself those loafing days and let the chores pile up when you need to, and lean on your Oakleaf buddies. Do you want to come to the IA appreciation dinner with Jose and I? It might be fun...

Kathleen said...

That is one of the best things I have ever read about being the wife of a deployed military man. I think it should be published!
Since I can't bring Tim home I will buy you a margarita!

Nancy B said...

Mrs.M--I will buy my own underpants this summer since I'll be back in the states! Hopefully, we can meet up since I'll be in your neck of the woods. I'll email you soon with the itinerary.

Wendy--Thanks for the kind words...I would love to go with you and Jose. When is it?

Kathleen--Mmmm. Margaritas make everything better. I will take you up on that offer. Thanks!

Diane said...

You brought tears to my eyes! You would never know you have these strong feelings of sadness, you are so cheerful when I see you, but it is totally understandable. I hope I will handle Brian's deployments as well as you have handled Tim's. But I know it is only natural to miss your best friend.

And honestly, I didn't realize we were kindred spirits...we both love writing AND you're the only other person I've ever met who talks about entropy, which I remember vividly learning about in high school because it describes what drives me nuts about life in general! ha

Nancy B said...

Thanks Diane! I'm going to miss you and your sweet girls! I hope you keep writing about your experiences as a "gaijin" of sorts in the US. Surely, by now, you will seem a little bit like a foreigner in your own land. That will be weird!

Yes, Entropy can drive you nuts...but then, there is its opposite, Extropy, which gives us hope that we can find some order in the chaos.

In the end, it's all good.